The school year has ended and families are making summer vacation plans. There is one thing parents may not be thinking about: the dreaded “summer slide.”
All children experience a learning loss during the summer. Experts call this summer learning loss the “summer slide.” This occurs when students don’t read during the summer. Students who experience the loss are more likely to struggle when they return to school in the fall.
A report estimates lost instructional time to be nearly two months. This translated roughly to 22 percent of the school year. According to Cindy Buchanan, reading is crucial. The stakes are high for students who don’t read over summer vacation. Buchanan serves as Aldine ISD’s program director for library services.
“Research shows that low–income families suffer a greater loss,” said Buchanan. “Not only do they fall far behind their peers, but they also experience cumulative effects.”
Let’s take a child in elementary school that doesn’t spend every summer reading. By the time this child reaches middle school, he or she may have lost as much two years worth of achievement.
Sociologists Karl Alexander and Doris Entwisle studied this cumulative effect. Their research showed this to be a primary cause of widening achievement gaps. Donald Hayes and Judith Grether also studied this effect. Data showed a clear difference between rich and poor students. There was a seven-month difference in scores at the beginning of second grade. But the learning loss mounted during four summers. It led to an achievement difference of 80 percent between rich and poor students by the end of sixth grade.
“Reading during the summer is a great way to help close the achievement gap,” said Buchanan.
Students will be able to check out books at Aldine ISD school libraries this summer. They can even go to a school library they not zoned to attend.
“Reading is the best antidote for the summer slide,” Buchanan said. “Parents play a key role in creating a culture of reading at home. This will make a difference in students‘ lives.”
Studies show that children who love to read come from an environment that values reading. That environment also has adults who are reading role models.
Visit your child’s school library to learn more about creating a reading culture at home.
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